Smart Leaders, Smarter TeamsHow You and Your Team Get Unstuck to Get Results
A proven approach for helping leaders and teams work together to achieve better decisions, greater commitment, and stronger results More than ever, effective leadership requires us to work as a team, but many leaders struggle to get the results they need. When stakes are high, you can't get great results by just changing what you do. You also need to change how you think. Organizational psychologist and leadership consultant Roger Schwarz applies his 30+ years of experience working with leadership teams to reveal how leaders can drastically improve results by changing their individual and team mindset. Provides practical guidance to help teams increase decision quality, decrease implementation time, foster innovation, get commitment, reduce costs and increase trust Outlines 5 core values leadership teams can adopt to exponentially improve results Author of The Skilled Facilitator and The Skilled Facilitator Fieldbook Get the results you and your team need. Start by applying the practical wisdom of Smart Leaders, Smarter Teams.
Preface xi Who this book is for, what it is about, and why I wrote it. 1 How Well Does Your Team Really Work? 1 Why does a group of smart leaders so often create a less-than-smart team? Th is chapter describes how the mindset leaders use can get them and their team stuck. It explains why adopting a mutual learning set of values and assumptions gets you and your team unstuck so that you get more done and achieve your goals. 2 How You and Your Team Get Stuck: The Unilateral Control Approach 25 When you and your team try to achieve your goals by unilaterally controlling the situation, you get the very results you’ve been trying to avoid. This chapter enables you to compare your own mindset and behaviors to those of a unilaterally controlling leader, so you can understand the mindset from which you are operating. 3 Getting Unstuck to Get Results: The Mutual Learning Approach 49 When you shift to a mutual learning mindset, you and your team operate from a more productive set of values and assumptions. These include being transparent, curious, accountable, and compassionate, and creating informed choice. This chapter demonstrates how that mindset generates common understanding that transforms decision making to produce better team performance, stronger team working relationships, and work that is satisfying and motivating. 4 Getting the Puzzle Pieces on the Table: Mutual Learning Behaviors 1–4 87 How you think is how you lead. This chapter provides detailed guidance on how to put the mutual learning mindset into action through four mutual learning behaviors: state views and ask genuine questions, share all relevant information, use specific examples and agree on what important words mean, and explain your reasoning and intent. See how these behaviors lead you and your team to higher quality decisions, shorter implementation time, and greater commitment and trust. 5 Putting the Puzzle Together: Mutual Learning Behaviors 5–8 109 Continuing from Chapter Four, this chapter provides detailed guidance on how to put the mutual learning mindset into action through four more mutual learning behaviors: focus on interests not positions, test assumptions and inferences, jointly design next steps, and discuss undiscussable issues. 6 Designing for Mutual Learning 143 How you design—or redesign—your team shapes whether your team gets the results you want or the results you’re trying to avoid. See how to enhance your team structures, processes, and context to get more eff ective decision making, less unproductive conflict, and greater commitment. 7 Dealing With Common Team Challenges 177 Most teams face challenges that are easily addressed by using a mutual learning approach. This chapter describes how to apply the mutual learning mindset and behaviors to deal with these challenges, including keeping team meetings on track, speaking with one voice as a team, preventing end runs, and giving and receiving feedback. 8 Becoming a Smarter Leader 199 Have you decided to become a smarter leader through mutual learning? This chapter helps you take stock of what you want to achieve, develop an action plan for what you want to change and why, and prepare to talk with your team about your changes. Together these steps will help you engage your team to support your leadership change. 9 Becoming a Smarter Team 215 Your team has greater power to get better results when you and the team decide to change together. The stakes are higher, but so are the rewards. This chapter provides specific steps to help you and your team take stock of what the team wants to achieve, develop a team action plan for change, and plan for team conversations to begin the change. Together, these steps will help you create a team whose results exceed the sum of its parts. Notes 233 Acknowledgments 241 About the Author 245 Index 247
Roger Schwarz has been a recognized thought leader in the realm of team leadership for three decades. An organizational psychologist and president and CEO of Roger Schwarz Associates, he is a sought-after advisor to global companies, federal government agencies, and international nonprofit organizations. Clients include Hewlett-Packard, the American Red Cross, the World Bank, TransCanada, Chevron, and the U.S. Department of the Interior. He is author of the seminal work The Skilled Facilitator and coauthor of The Skilled Facilitator Fieldbook. He holds a Ph.D. in organizational psychology from the University of Michigan, and a master of education degree from Harvard University. Schwarz lives in Chapel Hill with his wife. They have two children.
How well doesyour leadership team work? Do you and your team consistently achieve the results you want? Do ineffective problem solving, inability to resolve conflicts, strained relationships, and lack of trust get in the way of what you need to achieve? Smart Leaders, Smarter Teams introduces Mutual Learning, a comprehensive approach that has enabled Roger Schwarz's clients in global corporations, federal agencies, and nonprofits worldwide to get to the heart of their toughest challenges and significantly improve their results. In this book, Roger Schwarz addresses a critical question: Why does a group of smart leaders so often create a less-than-smart team? For thirty years, Schwarz has studied and consulted with leaders who faced challenges in which they were less effective than they wanted to be. Almost all leaders fall into the same unproductive traps stemming from their mindset—deeply ingrained beliefs about how leaders are "supposed" to act. In challenging situations, most leaders use a unilateral control mindset in which they attempt to make others do what they want them to do. Leaders think they're acting in the best interests of their organization. Yet unilateral control consistently generates subpar results.Unfortunately, leaders are not usually aware of the negative impact this mindset creates. The antidote to unilateral control is Mutual Learning in which the team works together to shift its values, assumptions, and behaviors so that leadership is invested in the full team—rather than just a formal leader. The approach is based on five core values that fundamentally change the way the team thinks and acts: Transparency Curiosity Accountability Informed Choice Compassion Apply the principles of Mutual Learning to your toughest challenges. You and your team will get stuck far less often, achieve higher levels of performance, have better working relationships, and enjoy greater well-being.
Praise for Smart Leaders, Smarter Teams "Roger Schwarz has hit the nail on the head. To bring positive long-term change and achieve the results you and your team are capable of, you can't just change how you act; you need to fundamentally change how you think about your team. Practical. Insightful. Outstanding." —Marshall Goldsmith, million-selling author, MOJO and What Got You Here Won't Get You There "Roger Schwarz argues that leaders must first change themselves to change their teams and transform results. He clearly explains how a default approach used by many leaders leads them and their teams to get stuck. He also provides a winning alternative—a set of values and beliefs that leaders can adopt to build commitment, make better decisions, and obtain better results." —Amy Edmondson, Novartis Professor of Leadership and Management, Harvard Business School; author, Teaming: How Organizations Learn, Innovate, and Compete in the Knowledge Economy "A powerful compendium of practical wisdom that artfully gets at the 'what' and the 'why' of superior team leadership and performance. A very worthy read." —Douglas R. Conant, former president, CEO, and director, Campbell Soup Company; New York Times bestselling author, TouchPoints: Creating Powerful Leadership Connections in the Smallest of Moments "In Smart Leaders, Smarter Teams, Roger has done for leadership teams what The Skilled Facilitator did for facilitators—provides a practical and powerful framework for getting to the heart of tough challenges, getting unstuck, and getting the results they need. This book should become required reading for all leadership teams." —Thomas P. Zgambo, ombudsman, the World Bank Group; former president, the Ombudsman Association (now International Ombudsman Association)